Friday, November 19, 2010

On Goals - or 1,000 miles in 2010

When Owen and I got our road bikes in late March we made a commitment to ride our bikes a lot. We talked about milage goals for the season and Owen threw out 1,000 miles as his goal.
“1,000 miles?” I asked him. “In one season?” That sounded like way too many miles to me. I decided on 500 miles as my goal, almost too hard to accomplish, I thought, but still reasonable and reachable
But Owen’s goal of 1,000 miles stayed in my mind.
And it’s still there.
You see, I have been thinking about goals a lot since I started riding.
This is the deal...goals and I haven’t had a good relationship. I’ve tended to look at setting goals as a way to guarantee failure. As something rigid and too out of reach.  And when I didn't meet a goal I thought about the people who said “you can’t,” and “it’s too hard for you,” and stuff like that. Because that’s what people have told me in the past.

And since I often didn't meet my goals I figured what other people said was true.
So, no surprise, I’ve been hesitant to set goals, or at least goals that anyone knows about, because I've been afraid I'd fail.
I’ve been talking to Owen a lot about goals in the last few weeks. About how people perceive me to be very goal oriented even though I don’t see myself this way. About how I actually do get out and accomplish things, even things that people tell me I can’t do - like learn how to fly airplanes.  We’ve also talked a lot about how Owen sees goals as a positive thing. About how they can be evaluated as you go and modified if need be. And, this really resonated with me, how he sees working toward a goal as more important than the goal itself. That setting goals encourages you to get out and do something you might not have done otherwise. And that getting out and doing is an accomplishment in itself. And that working towards a goal, even a goal you don’t reach, can make you a better person.
I’d never thought of goals that way before. 
I  like Owen’s point of view.
It’s a much more positive approach than the goals = failure view I’ve had.
So - back to my 500 mile bicycling goal/personal challenge....
I made it!! As of November 11th, I put 630 miles on my road bike and 220 miles on my hybrid for a total of 850 miles of riding this year. I doubt I would have done this without 30 Days of Biking through which I had to “tweet” my rides every day and be accountable to everyone else taking part in the challenge. And through tweeting about my 30 Days of Biking I gained a support system of positive people - bicyclist, runners, triathletes - people I now think of as friends.
I feel good about riding well over my 500 mile goal. Okay, I feel great about it!  But you know what? That 1,000 mile number is still out there and it’s taunting me.

So I’m going to work towards it!
My goal is to continue biking, walking or running and work towards 1,000 miles of exercise in 2010. 
I have logged 860 miles of exercise (850 miles of biking, 10 of walking & running) since late March and I’m going to keep going. 
You know what? I may not make 1,000 miles by the end of 2010 but that’s okay because I’m going to think of the goal as something flexible, as something that’s working for me not against me. And I'm going to tell myself that each mile I track, even if I don't finish all 140, is moving me towards a better, more fit, more positive, Myrna.
So here I go...

5 comments:

Pamela Hutchins said...

Yay you and yay OWEN! I share Owen's views. A goal is something to strive for, modify if needed, and celebrate if reached. But each day is an opportunity for a celebration, b/c goals can be broken into small increments. So what if you don't meet the year goal? You'll find 300 times to celebrate for meeting the day's goal during those 365 days, not just miss one opportunity for a yay. And every mile you ride is a celebration, even if you miss the days goals -- a victory over couch, chocolate cake, and self, a victory for health, wellness, and your family. GO MYRNA. I'll be right there with you. 1000 miles is a good target -- and 800 or 1200 rock, too!

Annalisa said...

You know, I could have written this EXACT post about goals. One of the things that helps me is to have an A-level goal, and a B-level goal. I don't consider meeting the B-level goal a failure now, although I used to.

Good luck on getting to that 1000 miles! You are already SO close. A little good weather and you will make it.

Eric Hutchins said...

I swear I am not following Pamela around. I just noticed your blog title and wanted to jump over and read it.
Unfortunatly Pamela already used up the words I wanted to Say.
I LOVE to set goals, and I also think its important to set road markers, milestones along the way to chart your progress and be good to yourself about the accomplishments.

Traci said...

Hi - came across your blog through another (Darryl @ lovingthebike). Congrats on surpassing your biking goal! That's great that you decided to hold yourself accountable by participating in 30 days of biking and tweeting each day. I have much more success with meeting goals which require me to be accountable to others also (I rarely set goals like that though, probably because I know I wouldn't be able to be lazy - haha!). I love your idea of continuing to bike, walk or run to reach 1000 miles of exercise in 2010. Good luck!

Myrna CG Mibus said...

Thanks for all of the positive feedback everyone! And Eric, I do think you are following Pamela around but that's okay. ;-)